Everybody loved Betty Lou

Published 9:28 am Tuesday, February 12, 2013

RICH SQUARE – Those at the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce are heartbroken over the loss of one of their own.

On Sunday, Betty Lou Askew Barnes passed away at the age of 72. Barnes was a familiar face at organization’s functions and activities and regularly helped out behind the scenes. She served on the Board of Directors for the Chamber for and served as Secretary for The Board for seven years.

“She was a really dear, dear friend and now there’s a big void,” said Chamber Executive Director Judy Collier.

Collier and Barnes worked day to day, side by side at the Chamber office in Jackson. Barnes conducted administrative duties around the office and helped out with planning events.

Through their work, Collier and Barnes developed a bond beyond professional. The two became like sisters.

“You can go through life with only having one best friend and that’s what Betty Lou was to me,” Collier said.

A native of Northampton County, Barnes was born March 16, 1940, the fifth child out of seven born to her parents, the late Clinton and Pattie Askew.

According to her obituary, she was raised on a farm and knew what hard work was.  After her brothers left home, she had to do work that men normally would do.  She drove a tractor, walked behind a mule many-a-day, helped the peanut pickers and assisted with other tasks.

“Betty Lou would give you the shirt off of her back,” Collier said. “She was a very caring and giving person, it’s just the way she was.”

Chamber President Brian Bolton said Barnes would be deeply missed at the Chamber and the community.

“Betty Lou has been a very faithful public servant to Northampton County,” he said.

After graduating from Rich Square High School in 1959, she attended Chowan College and received her degree in Secretarial Science. While attending Chowan College she began her work as a Legal Secretary and held this position for 48 years and completely retired from this position September 22, 2004.

Barnes attended Lasker Baptist Church from the time she was a baby and joined the church at age 16 and has been active in church work.  She was very dedicated to her church and held many positions, such as Chairperson of the Deacons, Treasurer, Church Clerk and Secretary, was a member of the choir, Assistant Acteen Leader, Women on Missions Leader.

She was a Shrinette and served as President for two years.  She was secretary for almost every organization she was involved in.

Barnes leaves behind her husband of 50 years, Talmadge Barnes, her sister, Sophia Askew Curtis and several nieces and nephews, Michael, Tommy, Dennis, Edward Lee, Rebecca, Patsy, Gilbert Jr., Connie, and Diane.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, February 13 at Lasker Baptist Church with Rev. Ricky Barnes officiating. Burial will follow at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Rich Square. The family will receive friends at Massey Funeral Home, Jackson, NC Tuesday from 7 until 8:30 p.m.

See page 6A for the complete obituary.